The Alternate Universe Weekly Challenge Thread
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10.19.2012 , 08:04 AM |
Wynston's Easy Life, or Screw the Sword of Mercy: Best Day Ever. This one's about cherished dreams shared throughout the multiverse. SW and IA spoilers through Act 3. 1400 words.
My super non-tense Easy Life, in which Wynston didn't get his stupid Castellan restraints and therefore had more spare time/an easier schedule. Not coincidentally, Ruth's interest in Quinn never escalates beyond crush status. For whatever reason, this Wynston finishes his Act 2 quickly, escapes Hunter's destruction at the Shadow Arsenal while earning Hunter's ire for just failing to die, and then runs through Act 3 while Ruth's still vacationing post-Vengean.
"Ruth, have you been assassinating members of the Dark Council?"
Ruth looked shifty-eyed. "Just the one."
"Vengean may have been a warmongering maniac, but you know that that kill got you a great deal of dangerous publicity."
"Glad to see you, too." Ruth frowned at the holo. "I know the risks. How're you doing, anyway?"
"Earning success upon success, apart from the galactic war breaking out before we got properly positioned. Since I have no immediate prospect of winning the war this week, I was wondering if we could get together. I've earned some vacation."
They made an unscheduled detour to an out-of-the-way corner of the cantina's maze of back rooms before they actually sat down to dinner. They had missed each other. Eventually, though, they did get around to eating.
Wynston sipped his drink and savored it for a moment before swallowing. "How's the crew?" he asked. "Vette get arrested yet?"
"For what?" said Ruth, all wide-eyed innocence.
"Very good. Your enforcer's not giving you any trouble?"
"Which one? Oh, you haven't met Broonmark. No, so far they've both been quite reasonable about not killing everything on sight."
"From what I saw of the lieutenant, that comes as surprising yet comforting news. Jaesa?"
"Why, Wynston, you're smiling."
He continued doing so without a hint of shame. "She's a sweet girl, I like her. She's picking up on your strange Sith ways all right?"
"As fast as I can explain or demonstrate. She's been a great help."
"Good. And Captain All Work and No Play?"
"Well, he's the interesting one. You had vanished by the time I finished writing those comm-scanning routines you recommended."
The Chiss raised an eyebrow.
"Quinn does a lot of talking to Darth Baras, which is odd, since he doesn't skip up the chain of command unless he feels he has to. In those conversations Baras has taken to openly threatening me."
"You killed Vengean. You're rapidly reaching the point where your independent power outweighs your potential usefulness. I can understand his wanting to remove you. So you kicked the captain out?"
"No, not exactly."
"All right," Wynston said sharply. "I'm listening. What's the plan?"
"I was just going to watch him. See what he does."
Wynston set his drink aside and leaned forward. "Probably blow up your ship one day. It's a dangerous game, letting an agent operate that close to you. Stop looking like that, at least you can enjoy me when I'm doing it. You found a spy, now the only sane thing to do is remove him."
"He's been of tremendous assistance. I could never have gotten to where I am without him."
"That's because he was ordered to help. He's going to try to change the terms sooner or later. Change them first."
Ruth looked unhappy. "In none of these conversations does he come out and say he's going to kill me."
"Ruth, you don't need incontrovertible proof of a specific plan. This is your ship and your life, not a Republic courtroom. He's dangerous well, more or less so remove him."
"I don't like doing that to my people."
"Captain Quinn is not your people. That's the point. I can arrange something if you understandably prefer not to attack your own crew."
Her look hardened. "Don't say that. I do have some backbone."
"I didn't mean it that way. Even someone with a backbone can dislike executing people they've known and trusted."
"The Empire could use him elsewhere. Killing someone of his talents would be a waste."
"I'm not sure you want a
operative who works for your master and soon-to-be worst enemy to be running around free." He stood up. "Come on. We could go give him a reasonable talking-to. Maybe he can earn his life."
Wynston had never enjoyed talking to Quinn. But this conversation might make up for it all.
"My lord." Quinn snapped to attention on the bridge. "You've returned." He gave Wynston a sour look.
"Captain," said Wynston with a dry smile. "Still. You've had your wagon hitched to this star for how long without earning a promotion?"
Ruth shot Wynston a warning look. Wynston shrugged innocently.
"I understand that Intelligence can forge whatever entitlements it likes, agent. The military prefers to earn advancement legitimately."
"We didn't come here to talk about that," Ruth reminded Wynston.
"No," said the Chiss, "but if this is going to be my last chance I want to have all the fun I can."
"My lord?" said Quinn.
"Ah, yes. I wanted to talk about your correspondence with Darth Baras, captain."
"My lord?" he repeated blankly.
"System records indicate you regularly erase the holocalls you make to him, but I've been skimming my own backups for a while. Baras wants measures in place for When The Time Comes, does he? And you are happy to assist him with this, in spite of a few heartwarming words you spoke in my defense?"
Quinn stared straight at her, looking no more or less serious than he always did. "I serve you, my lord. Any order Darth Baras issues must be considered through that lens."
"The fewer clandestine conversations you have with him, the fewer orders he can issue," Wynston said offhandedly. "Just a thought."
"My lord, what is he doing here?" snapped Quinn.
"Me? I'm just waiting for the order, captain." Wynston smiled mirthlessly. "Isn't that what we do?"
The officer glowered. "This is none of your concern."
"Anyone thinking about turning on Lord Ruth is my concern."
"How passionate. And which attractive woman have you so ardently been defending in these months you've been away, agent? I can't imagine you've been doing anything else with your time; switching targets is most likely the limit of both your ambition and your imagination."
"Returning to the part where you're working for the man who intends to kill the Sith you swore loyalty and service to, captain, our merciful friend Ruth was thinking you could transfer away and still be of service to the Empire. As one professional to another, I am dying to see whether you can finish talking her into that."
Quinn looked back to Ruth. "My lord, if a conflict of interest seems likely to present itself, perhaps it would be wise for me to seek a transfer elsewhere. I do not wish to harm you."
"That leaves him in Baras's service with exhaustive knowledge of your habits, your resources, and your crew," said Wynston.
"There is a war on," said Quinn. "There will be quite enough for me to do without spending time writing out-of-date reports for Baras."
"You've seen what an operative he is and you know Baras will just use him again against someone else, almost certainly someone on our own side. A solid agent is nothing if he's working for a corrupt commander."
"Wynston," said Ruth. "Enough. Whatever his assignment was, Quinn is still an Imperial and a skilled soldier. If he stays in Baras's employ I'll inherit him as a servant soon enough anyway." She smiled unpleasantly at Quinn. "You can let your master know that when I send you back to him."
"He's had the chance to access and observe the security of your father's home," Wynston said quietly. "You know Baras's methods."
For the span of a heartbeat, there was silence.
No one's expression changed but three things happened at once: Ruth drew her saber, Quinn drew his blaster, and Wynston made one blurringly fast gesture that brought his blaster out and placed a shot squarely between Quinn's eyes.
"Scum," said Wynston as Quinn fell.
Ruth tightened her lips for a second, then sighed. "He always did good work," she said regretfully.
"He did, for a while. I think it's best that he quit while you were ahead."
"That was a remarkable quickdraw."
Wynston holstered his blaster, frowning down at Quinn. "I prefer to use violence only as a last resort. But I've found that when you're down to a last resort, it pays to be very good at it." He checked the look on her face. "I can take care of this, my lord. I think we'll both sleep better knowing that he and everything he knows can no longer harm you."
Ruth nodded reluctantly. "You're right. I just I may not have liked him much, but I trusted him."
He waited. It took her another few moments before she spoke again, and she didn't look at him when she did so. "Wynston?"
"If you have the time, I could use a security specialist. And gunman, medic, analyst, the rest of it." She caught his eye. "And a friend."
"Well," said Wynston. "That's a lot to look for in one person." He smiled. "I'll see to it that I have the time."
Best. Day. Ever. According to someone, anyway.
Wynston says: "Violence is only a last resort...unless you're a jerk and in my professional opinion you're too dangerous to live. Hey, I'm not 100% LS. In-game I barely brush 60%."
Also, unfortunately, Ruth has to be kind of useless here because let's face it this scene is just a vehicle for Wynston to get what he's been fantasizing about on some level in every continuity since the day he met Quinn.
Umm, other posts:
Adventures on Taris (Culture Shock)
Time Off After Taris (Backfired Plans)
Dealing with Quinn (Best Day Ever) post-Act 2
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